Sunday, September 4, 2016

Trekking in Foresthill, Auburn, CA

Burned out from all the shopping my family has been doing for the past 2 weeks in the US, my Tita and I decided to go trekking and explore the outdoors a couple of days before my return to Manila.

Over an hour away from Sacramento, we headed East to the quaint town of Auburn. My Tita, while on her way to a wedding months ago, made a wrong turn and ended up seeing the Foresthill Bridge. She stopped and looked down, then said to herself, "What a nice place to trek. I shall explore this area soon." She made a mental note to go back, and this was a good a time as any to bring us there for our first trek on American soil.


The Foresthill Bridge spans the North Fork of the American River in Placer County between the city of Auburn and the town of Foresthill in the Sierra Nevada foothills (source). While it may not look much in this photo, it is actually considered as one of the highest bridges in the United States. What's underneath it though, is equally as beautiful.

I could say we cheated a little bit because this wasn't a hard trek at all -- just walk down the path for 8 minutes and you'll reach the river. I couldn't wait, I was so happy to be outdoors with nature. As there are several entry points to the river, more experienced hikers can choose steeper trails with more vicious inclines.

Also known as the the North Fork of the American River, this hidden spot is known for kayaking, trekking, swimming, and whitewater rafting. Trekkers (or tourists like us) will enjoy the solitude this place brings. We visited in the middle of summer yet the place was relatively empty save for two families who were eager to take a dip with their kids and dogs.

Having to contend with the 33 degree heat (which I loved, FYI, I am done with the chilly 11 degree weather of San Francisco), I was initially apprehensive about swimming here because a) the current is strong, and b) the water seemed cold.

I had previously foregone swimming in Venice Beach and Oceanside because the water was too cold for my taste -- what was considered as ice cold for me was apparently "normal" for locals. But thankfully, the American River's temperature was perfect. The only dilemma we had was: do we strip down to our birthday suits or swim in our yoga gear?

Strip down we did, only leaving our knickers and sports bras on. We had found a shallow pool in the middle of the trek away from the rapids. The water was cool and crystal clear, the smooth rocks were makeshift seats and backrests where we could relax and sunbathe in peace

First-timers may have to visit the ranger station and pay $10 parking fee, but here's a tip: park after the bridge and you don't have to spend a dime -- it's free!

Thrift Shopping in Auburn

For the uninitiated, the trek may leave you hungry so we made a quick stop in the old city to check out the art work, thrift stores, and cafes.   

Thrift shopping is a time-consuming but otherwise rewarding pastime. Imagine walking through a very old house (this was said to be the Pastor's residence back in the day), going through the racks and display cases, discovering unique novelty items in the process. This particular house was filled with clothes, memorabilia, books, vintage flatware, and fine china. 

The day wound down and we ended up taking a break in Baked & Brewed Cafe, a homey cafe buzzing with activity. Teenagers everywhere with their short shorts and winged eyeliner, I felt so out of place with my unkempt hair and leggings. Not to mention I was turning 35 this year, but I consoled myself thinking that my petite frame makes me look 20 years younger. I already got carded in this country twice! Ha!

So that's it for our Auburn adventure. Next time, we'll camp and explore more "hidden" places in the area. If you have recommendations, we'd be happy to hear them :)


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